Arsenal ensured the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four will go down to the final day of the season with a laboured win against relegated Sunderland.
Alexis Sanchez tapped in Mesut Ozil’s square pass to the relief of those inside a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium.
As Arsenal increased in urgency, Sanchez bundled in Olivier Giroud’s cut-back to renew their hopes of a top-four finish for a 21st successive season.
Despite having 36 attempts at goal – the most in a Premier League game since 2003 – the Gunners could not wipe out fourth-placed Liverpool’s superior goal difference.
Arsenal are a point behind the Reds – who are two goals better off – before Sunday’s final matches.
Realistically, Arsene Wenger’s men must beat seventh-placed Everton and hope the Reds slip up against relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield.
|Arsenal finish in the top four if:|
|They win and Liverpool fail to beat Middlesbrough|
|They draw 0-0 or 1-1 and Liverpool lose by three goals or more|
|They earn a score draw of 2-2 and Liverpool lose 2-0 (or they draw 3-3 and Liverpool lose 3-1, and so on)|
|They win, and Manchester City lose – with a minimum five-goal swing in goal difference|
|Liverpool finish in the top four if:|
|They win, or they match or better Arsenal’s result|
|But… both sides could also finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored – resulting in a fourth-placed play-off|